BIG TECH – Google appeared to remove nearly 100,000 negative reviews for the Robinhood app after outraged investors bombarded the stock-trading startup with complaints.
Earlier this week Robinhood trading app froze trading on shares of GameStop, AMC and other stocks whose prices exploded by day traders who pumped the stocks.
The campaign appeared to work — Robinhood’s Android app had a one-star rating based on nearly 275,000 reviews on Thursday, according to a screenshot captured by 9to5Google.
That’s when Google jumped in and deleted nearly 100,000 user reviews for the trading app.
But that number had fallen to just over 176,000 by midday Friday as Google apparently purged the bad reviews, bringing Robinhood’s rating back up to roughly four stars.
GIZMODO: Google confirms deleted 100,000 negative reviews of Robinhood app
— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) January 29, 2021
Google said it removes reviews under policies that prohibit users from manipulating an app’s average star rating. The tech titan says it has longstanding systems in place to detect abuse of the review system, including reviews that are coordinated or inorganic, regardless of their content.
Google said developers can’t remove reviews of their apps themselves and are forbidden by the Play Store’s policies from trying to influence their apps’ ratings.
— David Meeks (@DavidMeeks) January 28, 2021
But none of that stopped angry Robinhood users from dropping one-star reviews for the app on Friday, even after the company eased its restrictions on GameStop and other stocks.
Some called out the fact that Google was policing the negative comments.
“Would give zero stars except apparently google has been removing tons of the 1 star review,” one person wrote, giving Robinhood a two-star rating. “I’ve deactivated my account and I’ll never be using them again.”
This is a developing story.